resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
June, 2009, Vol. 09, Issue 06
Time to Get Creative
By Jenn Sommermann, LCMT
Currently, there are two factors happening simultaneously that can greatly affect your massage therapy practice. Both are equally important. No article would be complete without talking about the economy.An educated, savvy clientele can also impact the bottom-line. I believe these two factors, the economy and a more educated clientele, are the key factors affecting the practice of every massage therapist. Now is the time to dig deep, think outside the box and be more creative in the ways you approach marketing, client retention and referral programs.
If you read my last article, "Make Your Client's Experience Memorable" (April 2009 issue), you learned that positioning yourself on the side of health care versus personal care, makes you less likely to suffer in this economic down turn. Clients are forgoing some personal care services in effort to save money or redirect spending. But amazingly, health care has not suffered as much. If your massage services are considered health care, chances are you are managing these troubled times and will come out on the other side in good shape. This is all about educating the client and it starts with you.
The general population is also learning more about massage services and complementary health care, in general. They are more educated about the benefits of massage therapy, more discerning and seeking massage more frequently and in higher numbers. In fact, according to the American Massage Therapy Association's 2009 Industry Fact Sheet, 24 percent of American adults received a massage in the last 12 months. They just plain know more. You need to approach them in ways that speak to them; address what they want and need and entice them to use your services.
I believe these two factors, the economy and a more educated clientele, have forced the need for you to go beyond what you are currently doing. Gone are the days when you can rest on your reputation to keep new business coming in. Today you must be creative, passionate and vigilant in the way you pursue new business, keep your existing business coming back for more, and obtain referrals. This can be broken into three categories: marketing - bringing in the new clients; client retention - keeping the clients you have; and referral programs - obtaining new clients from the existing ones.
What creative ways are you marketing your services? Are you marketing health care or personal care? Too often I see massage therapists rely on printed marketing materials to gain new clients. In today's world, printed materials are not as effective, as the marketing platform is already saturated. What "out-of-the-box" method can you use to drum up new business? This past Valentine's Day, I went to my local florist and gave her six complimentary half hour gift certificates (with the ability to upgrade to an hour for an additional $45). I asked her to put the gift certificates in the floral arrangements of her five "high-end" customers, within a geographic area that I prescribed and keep one gift certificate for herself. She loved the idea. It made her arrangements more desirable and special and it got my name out to folks in a very personal way. Nothing beats a personal referral and the florist's recommendation was "golden."
What percentage of your client's reschedule? If you don't know, it is a statistic you should start keeping track of. Shooting for 100 percent is great but probably unrealistic. If you want a full practice, shooting for 85 percent is a good goal. What do you do to keep them coming back? What makes them feel special? Do you ask them to reschedule or at least plant the seed that massage has cumulative benefits? I always do a 24-hour follow-up call with new clients. I tell the client that I will be contacting them the next day. I call to see how they responded to the treatment, how they slept and gather any other information that can help me adjust my treatment next time accordingly. This implies that there will be a next time. The seed is planted. It also means the hour session lasts longer, because I am thinking about them long after the time is up and the payment has been made. The clients get more value for their fee. More value equals happier clients, especially in today's economy. Happier clients mean higher retention.
So now you have new clients coming in and you are keeping them in your practice. You're half way there. What creative method can you use to entice those happy clients to bring in more business? How can you get them to consistently refer? The single best thing I do to get referrals is to turn down tips. YEP ... turn away money. I say, "Thank you so much but the best tip you can give me is the referral of your family and friends." Everyone wins here. Do the math. Would you rather have the $10 now or the $75 from a new client?
If you are struggling with your practice or if you need a jump-start towards more clients, be resourceful. Talk to successful colleagues and find out what they do to boost business. Times are tough and folks are smarter about massage. In order to keep up with these trends, you need to think outside the box. Now is the time to get creative.
Click here for more information about Jenn Sommermann, LCMT.
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